Since 2019 Origins intentionally engages with local and national BIPOC geniuses to learn from.

Ms. Mary Moose – Dakota/Lakota Nation Elder.  Mary Moose is a first language Ojibwe and Cree speaker from Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Ontario Canada. She was raised in the bush where she learned Ojibwe knowledge and values. She currently lives in Hinkley, MN and has worked as a language teacher, previously with her husband and now, with her sons. Mary has traveled throughout the United States and Canada to share Ojibwe stories. She has authored three books and dedicates her life to passing on Ojibwe knowledge and values. We are honored to have her share her stories with us here in our community.

Shannon Gibney – Shannon Gibney is an award-winning author of books of all kinds — from novels to anthologies to essays to picture books. She writes for adults, children, and everyone in-between.  The through-line in all her work is stories that may have previously gone untold. Sometimes these perspectives have remained hidden because the speakers have not had an outlet for their stories; other times, the stories carry darkness and fear that we prefer to look away from.  The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be (Dutton, 2023), exemplifies this approach, as does Gibney’s novel, Dream Country (Dutton, 2018), which Kirkus describes as “a necessary reckoning of tensions within the African diaspora — an introduction to its brokenness and a place to start healing.”

Brother Truth Maze -Truth Maze (aka William Harris) was born with a strong rhythmic sense making him a natural drummer. A native of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, this ingenerate ability would later connect to his uncanny skills as a verbal percussionist. Known as ‘The Unstoppable B-Fresh’, William became part of the groundbreaking I.R.M. Crew, one of the first hip-hop groups out of the Twin Cities to attain national accolades, thus cementing his place as an icon in the Minnesota music scene.  A performer who comfortably expresses himself across various genres of live, electro music into a carnival of poetry, hard funk, and raw rap, he is an artist that easily accomplishes being multidisciplinary. With 2000+ shows under his belt, this drummer, poet, beat boxer, hip hop scholar, and youth mentor has recorded & performed internationally, and has been compared to Gil Scott Heron, Saul Williams, and KRS-One. Blending his vocal arts with instruction and theater, Truth Maze balances his love for music with his love for his community working with numerous youth and community organizations. His art is his passion, activism, and spirit.

Ananya Chatterjea – Ananya Dance Theater, an ensemble company of BIPOC women and femme professional dance artists, was named a Regional Cultural Treasure by a joint initiative of the Ford Foundation and McKnight Foundation in 2021. Their work electrifies on the intersectional frontiers of artistic excellence, social justice, and community-embedded practice. In dancing stories where the lives and dreams of women from the global majority occupy the center, they shift the landscape of mainstream culture, build understanding about arts and social justice, and empower women’s voices. The company’s home, the Shawngrām Institute for Performance and Social Justice, is located in St. Paul, MN.

Hui Wilcox – Hui Wilcox is Dean of Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship.  In her role as the Dean of KAIGC, she engages with Macalester colleagues and students from all disciplines as well as local and global community partners, to cultivate thinking and action around critical global citizenship. What does it mean to be a global citizen in our time? How can engaging with local communities be a pathway towards nuanced understanding of the global? And how can critical global perspectives inform place-based learning and change-making? Grounded in Macalester’s long-term engagement with internationalism and multiculturalism, this interdisciplinary work opens more collaborative spaces of inquiry, creativity, joyfulness, well-being, and social justice.  As a sociologist, a dance artist, and a first-generation immigrant, Hui is passionate about educating global citizens who understand structural inequalities, embrace cultural differences, and dare to imagine a just world. Hui believes in the transformative and healing potential of education, especially when we engage in interdisciplinary, community-based learning. She adopts the decolonial framework that challenges the rigid separation between academia and community, theory and practice, global and local. Mindful of the power dynamics inherent in the construction of these dichotomies, she does research in transnational feminisms, sociology of immigration, race and ethnicity, Asian American studies, performance studies, and global health. As she traverses disciplines, institutions, and nations, Hui reflects on her complicated privileges and perspectives as a North-based BIPOC social scientist, educator and artist.  With eyes on the missions of Macalester and KAIGC, she prioritizes collaboration, relationship building, interdisciplinarity, and embodied/experiential pedagogies. She is  excited to accompany the learning journeys of the stellar KAIGC staff, Macalester students and our campus and community partners.

Walter Griffin – visual historian and professional whistler/storyteller.  Photography captures timeless situations, ordinary people, the texture of life in the moment.  Photography expresses humor, joy and beauty.  Walter feels a responsibility to preserve a visual history documenting positive real-life images; this is the stimulus for his photography. His work expresses that philosophy through an evolving photographic style.  Walter’s work preserves life’s interactions, captures the present for the future and provides a bridge for future generations of photographers.  Walter’s life-long focus is capturing and preserving personal interactions. His work has been exhibited and published throughout America, Africa and Europe. He has lectured at numerous Universities throughout the United States.  He reaches out to the next generations of photographers by leading young people’s photography workshops.  Walter’s repertoire results from a lifetime of photographing jazz musicians, cityscapes, cultural events, dancers and the seasons of life; it is a constant voice and ever-expanding collection of unique personal images creating a universal visual history.

Looking forward to 2025!

Ta–coumba – a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator and community activist who focuses on public art and collaborative projects.  His “rhythm paintings” on paper and canvas are loose and lively.  He has participated in the creation of over 300 murals and public art sculptures with themes ranging from local history to the artist’s own style of rhythmic pattern and spirit writing.  The artist has served on the boards of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, the African American Cultural Arts Center, Forecast Public Arts, and the St. Paul Art Collective and has acted as an advisor on the arts for both the City of St. Paul and the City of Minneapolis.  He has been the recipient of awards including a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollock–Krasner Foundation Fellowship and a Bush Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship.  His painting entitled; “Forever Saint Paul” was awarded the Guinness Book World Record for the most Lite-Brite pegs ever used (596,000+) to create a painting.  This piece is permanently located in the Saint Paul Union Depot.  His works can be found in public and private collections including those of the Walker Art Center, The McKnight Foundation, General Mills, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and Maya Angelou.